First off, let me say that the folks running Whiskies of the World really know how to throw a fantastic event. Of course, they delivered on the whiskey, but there were other (highly appreciated) touches that pulled the event together and made WOW ATL a welcome and inviting atmosphere. They made sure each table had a pitcher of water for rinsing your glass or your palate; they had snack tables full of delicious appetizers to help soak up the booze (and brownies after! Yes!); and best of all, they brought together wonderful people and delicious drams for an altogether fantastic event. But of course, some things stood out more than others.
The whiskey was the best, of course. From the beginning, I knew that Whiskies of the World was going to be a challenge: two hundred whiskies to try in only three hours, with the possibility of master classes and cigar pairings pulling me away from the action. But I planned, I highlighted all over the pour list, and even I wasn’t able to taste every single dram of whisky that I wanted to. That’s right, no John E. Fitzgerald bourbon for me… No Nikka or The Genlivet in my glass.
There was just so much to taste! I’m very happy with what I managed to snag a glass of, though: High West’s A Midwinter Night’s Dram and Lagavulin Distillers’ Edition were the most memorable of the evening, and definitely left an impression.
The people were fantastic, as well. I went to this event on my own, but I knew I wouldn’t be alone. My friend Joe, (on Instagram at @whiskeyjourney), was repping Bulleit bourbon and rye whiskey for Diageo, who had a strong presence there. It was so great to stop with him and chat about how he became a Master of Whiskey—how inspiring!
I also got to meet some new friends and inspiring role models like Alissa Henley, distiller for George Dickel Tennessee Whiskey, and David Perkins, proprietor of High West Distillery. The folks from High West even told me that they had shared my previous blog post about WOW ATL around their office since I wrote about how excited I was to see them at the event!
It is times like these when I’m really grateful for the small, tight-knit community of whiskey and bourbon lovers we foster. I can go hundreds of miles from home to an event where, mathematically, I shouldn’t know anyone, and walk out the door with a handful of new brothers- and sisters-in-whiskey. If you are new to whiskey and as passionate as I am, try to make it to Whiskies of the World or another event like it (how about Whiskey in the Winter today?), so you can see just how many people are just like you. There are only a few places in the world where you can geek out about mash bills, yeast strains, and blending as much as a whiskey festival, and I feel so blessed that I was able to be a part of one. Cheers!